Woman released from quarantine hotel tests positive

A returning overseas traveller who was forcibly quarantined at a Sydney hotel this month has tested positive for coronavirus immediately after being cleared for release.

The woman in her 20s told news.com.au she felt "weird" and suspected she had been infected with the deadly virus on her travels but was refused access to testing while in police lockdown.

In the first of the two weeks quarantined in a hotel room, the Australian woman, who requested to remain anonymous, said she had no contact with any medical experts.


In the second week, she was contacted by a nurse and told her she was feeling ill. The woman detailed her mild symptoms but was told she didn't need to be inspected further.

At no stage were she or her travelling companions visited by a doctor, nurse or health expert of any kind, she said.

On day 13, the woman and the rest of her party simply had their temperature checked, were cleared to leave the hotel the next day and travelled interstate to their homes.

Once her journey was completed, she opted to be tested because she felt an obligation to not expose family and friends to the pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people across the globe.

"I was shocked to find out I had tested positive," she told news.com.au.

The health department then contacted the woman and was forced to retrace her travels post-lockdown because it was unable to determine if she was at risk of spreading the virus or not.

"When I left quarantine I assumed I was one of the safest people in Australia, but now to find out I am positive for coronavirus and possibly contagious is stressful."

Sydney has become a ghost town during the government imposed shutdown. Picture: AAP
Sydney has become a ghost town during the government imposed shutdown. Picture: AAP


While in lockdown, a Facebook group was created by quarantined travellers as a means to communicate and compare their experiences.

Others have shared their disbelief at also being refused access to testing for the disease.

"I was a bit ill and had symptoms before arriving into quarantine but feel OK now. I've asked to be tested and they've said they won't test me," a post on the social media platform said.

And another: "I'm experiencing weird symptoms and I've called the doctor at the hotel to see if I should be tested and they've said no because my symptoms aren't severe enough."

The New South Wales Government told news.com.au that testing should be done on those quarantined in hotels if they feel unwell with a cough or fever.

But it has decided to not test those without symptoms because it can often lead to "false negative results".

"People leaving general hotel quarantine undergo a health assessment conducted by NSW Health which includes checking for symptoms and taking a temperature before release," the department said in a statement provided to news.com.au.

Returning travellers have been placed in two-week quarantine to control the spread of the deadly pandemic.
Returning travellers have been placed in two-week quarantine to control the spread of the deadly pandemic.


Another category of returning travellers who have tested positive for COVID-19 are being cared for in "health hotels" and are only allowed to leave once they have been cleared of the virus.

More than 7000 overseas travellers have either completed or are completing the 14 day quarantine at various hotels across Sydney.

Of the 470 symptomatic travellers, 61 have tested positive for coronavirus, NSW Health said.

Returning travellers quarantined in police lockdown have complained on social media of "inhumane" treatment and terrible food.

Tia Nyirongo returned from Bali to Perth earlier this week and was placed in a hotel to complete her isolation. In a video shared to her Facebook and Instagram she said the food was "really atrocious".

Have more to add to the story? Get in touch via email at james.hall1@news.com.au or through Twitter at James_P_Hall

Originally published as Woman let go from quarantine had virus